Conrad Veidt, Annabella, Raymond Massey
In 1620s France, dreaded swordsman Gil de Berault returns from carrying out a mission for Cardinal Richelieu, and finds the Cardinal worried about growing opposition from the Huguenots in the south. The Cardinal also warns de Berault that dueling has been outlawed, and will henceforth be punishable by death. Gil, however, promptly disobeys the law and is indeed sentenced to death. The Cardinal offers to cancel the sentence if de Berault is able to capture the duke who is organizing plans for an uprising. Gil travels to the duke's castle and is allowed to stay as a guest, but the duke's wife and sister immediately suspect that he is a spy. He and his servant still make good progress, until he falls in love with the duke's sister, which complicates everything
October 24, 2007 Subject:
Victor Sjöström's Final Film as Director
It was interesting to see this film by Victor Sjöström (Sjostrom, Seastrom). At first glance it's difficult to recognize the director of "The Outlaw and His Wife (1918), where he introduced expressive nature and scenery as an active part of the drama, "The Phantom Chariot" (1921), where the monster is alcoholism, or his Hollywood films, of which I'vs seen "He Who Gets Slapped" (1924).
This is an action drama in a historical setting, the early 17th century France and the fight between the Catholic monarchy and the Calvinist Huguenots. People wear lace collars (that never get dirty) and wide hats with swaying plumes. We meet them in bright lit galleries and halls of old castles, contrasted to stairs and vaulted rooms with dark shadows. It's a well done movie in this genre, well acted, with a witty dialogue, some expressive outdoor scenes and an interesting soundtrack. The fans of this genre will like this movie, but I was a little disappointed.
Sjostrom can be recognized in this movie, but his few talkies can hardly compete with his silents. After his years in Hollywood 1923-30 he made a few films, but first of all he worked as an actor and as a supervisor of Svensk Filmindustri. He was the mentor of the young Ingmar Bergman, and at the age of 78 he played the leading part in "Wild Strawberries" (1957). Bergman used to say that it was Victor's film, that Victor took over it. You get a glimpse of how and why when you see Victor's face in the last scene.
Thanks for uploading this movie! Maybe some of Sjostrom's Hollywood films are in the Public Domain and could enter this site...